The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 17, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that U.S. infantrymen this date had virtually wiped out a force of more than 350 Communist Chinese troops attacking U.S. Second Division positions on the western front in Korea, in a battle which had taken place in close quarters for 7.5 hours inside the allied trench network on "Little Gibraltar Hill". Adlai Stevenson, visiting Korea during his round-the-world tour, had observed part of the fighting from an observation bunker on a nearby hill, where two Chinese artillery shells had exploded about 350 yards from that bunker, though not even shaking the former Illinois Governor and 1952 Democratic presidential nominee. It had represented the heaviest ground fighting in several weeks. One black soldier had killed Chinese "left and right" with his rifle, as described by an American battalion commander, a lieutenant colonel, whose life had been saved by the soldier, calling him "the bravest man" he had ever seen. The lieutenant colonel, whose identity could not yet be revealed, was given the Silver Star later in the day by the Second Division commander, and division officers were trying to ascertain the name of the black soldier, and whether he had survived the action. U.S. casualties were not disclosed. Elsewhere on the battlefront, allied troops repulsed eight small Communist probing thrusts across the battlefront.

The Eighth Army reported that allied ground troops had killed 1,180 enemy troops, wounded 960 and taken seven prisoners during the week ended March 14.

In London, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appearing before Commons, rejected a Communist Hungarian Government proposal to barter a British businessman in a Hungarian prison for a Communist female guerrilla held by the British in Malaya. The Prime Minister also stated that the shooting down of the British bomber plane by two Soviet fighter planes over West German territory near Hamburg the prior Thursday had been a "cruel and wanton attack", but that Britain would adhere to normal peacetime methods in response and that British aircraft in the Western Allied zones of Germany would continue to carry out their normal exercises while taking all precautions, that should any Soviet aircraft stray into Western zones, every effort would be made to warn them to avoid loss of life.

In Berlin, East German President Wilhelm Pieck, 77, was reported to be suffering from pneumonia and pleurisy, the same malady which had taken the life of Czech President Klement Gottwald the prior week, though not contracted while attending the funeral of Joseph Stalin, as had been the case with Mr. Gottwald, as Herr Pieck had not attended the funeral or taken part in the memorial rites in East Berlin.

Senator Joseph McCarthy, one of the critics of the President's nomination of Charles Bohlen to be the new Ambassador to Russia, conceded this date that opponents of the nomination did not have the votes to block confirmation. He said that the Administration was, however, making a mistake in sticking to the nomination given the opposition by several Republican Senators. He referred in particular to Secretary of State Dulles, and did not mention the President. Mr. Bohlen, meanwhile, had a case of measles, forcing a delay until the next day of a new hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which had been originally set for this date. As it was indicated to be a mild case of the measles, it was probably German and not Red—for those looking for symbols out of nature to ascertain whether Senator McCarthy was, in fact, divinely inspired or just another drunk unwittingly taking his cues from catsup bottles.

The House Government Operations Committee this date voted 17 to 12 to speed approval of the President's plan to reorganize the Federal Security Agency, setting it up as a new Cabinet-level Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Democrats unexpectedly lined up almost solidly against approval of the resolution, which would put the change in effect within 10 days after enactment. Democrats said their opposition was based primarily on the accelerated method of handling the proposal rather than the plan, itself.

At Yucca Flat, Nevada, the atomic bomb test site, an atomic bomb was detonated1 from a 300-foot high tower at dawn this date, as 1,000 troops and hundreds of other observers watched, designed as a test of wooden and concrete structures mimicking designs of American homes and bomb shelters, with mannequins inside, as well the effect on 70 automobiles stationed at various distances from ground-zero. Dubbed "Operation St. Pat", the test's shockwave was felt as far away as Pasadena, Calif., Cedar City, Utah, and points in between. The project director indicated that radiation might be too great to permit correspondents observing the blast to enter the immediate area for a couple of days, and that a statement would soon be issued. In Las Vegas, 75 miles distant, the blast was observed as a brilliant white flare, covering nearly half the horizon, then turning yellow before finally fading away into pink. It caused no excitement and only a few residents reported feeling the sound wave. Civil Defense officials, in remarks to journalists prior to the blast, indicated that they believed that the Russians might have developed atomic weapons two and a half times more powerful than those dropped on Japan in August, 1945, and were at work on larger bombs. The official said that the prime industrial and population targets for atomic bombs would be New York, Philadelphia, Washington, St. Louis, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland, cities possessing a third of the nation's vital industry and more than a third of its population. He said that an unanticipated attack on those communities would result in two million casualties, dead or injured, but that civil defense preparations, including a warning alert, could cut that number in half.

We wish to know what happened to the dogs, pigs, monkeys, rabbits and mice, situated on the front lines.

A second special piece on the front page by Joseph & Stewart Alsop, in follow-up to a piece on the same topic the prior day, indicates that the Soviet strategic air force was now fairly frequently flying reconnaissance missions over the North American continent, having begun, insofar as it was known, the previous summer, with the contrails evident over Alaska and northwestern Canada. Thus far, approximately ten such flights had been confirmed, with two sighted some two weeks earlier, one over northern Canada and the other in the vicinity of the major U.S. airbase at Thule in Greenland, indicating that the Soviets were systematically reconnoitering the whole northern defensive fringe. Those contrail sightings provided added significance to the daunting air defense decision facing the President, as reported by the Alsops the previous day, whether to increase by 16 to 20 billion dollars the air defense budget to enable the country to have adequate defense against a potential Soviet atomic attack by air, believed capable of occurring within the ensuing two years, as indicated by a study group of highly qualified U.S. scientists, formed by MIT under Air Force contract, with it indicating that present capabilities left U.S. cities exposed.

The father of the Alsops, Joseph W. Alsop, 76, died this date in Charleston, S.C., after being stricken the previous Saturday with a heart attack while visiting with Mrs. Alsop, the former Corrine Roosevelt. The elder Alsop had been a former insurance executive and cattle breeder, and for many years had been active in Republican Party circles in Connecticut.

In London, Marshal Tito met with Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace this date, signal of his having made the grade socially in the West. It was the first time that the Queen had sat across a luncheon table from a wartime Communist guerrilla chieftain turned dictator. Also at the luncheon was the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, and Prime Minister Churchill. Tito had taken a whirlwind 70-minute tour of the British Museum and the Tower of London earlier in the day, during which a police guard screened him from observers.

A New Jersey businessman told a House Ways & Means subcommittee, investigating tax fraud, that he had paid $115,000 to a succession of lawyers and "fixers" to settle his tax troubles with the Government, eventually, however, having to plead guilty anyway to tax evasion. He was now awaiting sentence on the charge of evading payment of $150,000 in taxes during the early 1940s. He said that a male and a female journalist were among the persons to whom he gave money on the basis of their representations that they could use influence on his behalf, indicating that one was a close friend of Lamar Caudle, at the time Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Tax Division, and claimed that he could obtain a prompt hearing before the Justice Department.

In Raleigh, legislation to aid municipalities in enforcing parking regulations was introduced in the State House, the bill to make it necessary for the owner of the car tagged for overtime parking to prove that he did not park the car, to overcome the additional provision of the bill that being the registered owner of the vehicle would constitute prima facie evidence that the owner was responsible for the overtime parking, essentially creating a rebuttable presumption that the registered owner parked the car. The bill was designed to circumvent a recent State Supreme Court decision which required police to prove that the person accused of overtime parking actually parked the car.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of H. Haywood Robbins of Charlotte, a member of the State Elections Board, having told Governor William B. Umstead this date that he did not appreciate the treatment he was receiving from the Administration and that it could have his resignation at any time. The attorney expressed shock at a legislative bill which would turn the Board members out of office on May 31, approved by the State House the previous day and headed for Senate approval, permitting the Governor to name a new Elections Board on June 1. Mr. Robbins was one of five members whose terms were set to expire at the end of the year. When asked whether his letter constituted an offer of resignation, he said that the Governor could take it any way he wished to take it.

Not on the page, the national semifinals of the N.C.A.A. Basketball Tournament would take place in Kansas City this night, with Indiana, number one in the prior week's Associated Press top-20 poll, beating number 7 LSU, 80 to 67, and number five Kansas beating number two Washington 79 to 53, setting up the finals the following night at 10:00 EST between defending national champion Kansas and Indiana, a rematch of the 1940 national championship game, which Indiana had won easily. During the Kansas-Washington contest, a player named Smith got into the game, listed as a forward, but he did not scratch, save for commission of a personal foul, probably by clutching at his own throat, as if to straighten his necktie, after a bad call. Kansas coach Phog Allen told his players after the game that he did not see how they would beat Indiana, but that they were not going to take the easy chair.

On the editorial page, "Byrd Cools Off the Tax Slashers" indicates that Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia had traditionally been for low taxes and government economy, having been, in that role, a thorn to the Truman Administration, but was now needling the Republican tax cutters. He was, according to the New York Herald Tribune, quietly letting it be known around Congress that the Federal budget for fiscal year 1954 could not be balanced unless the existing taxes were extended beyond their scheduled expiration dates.

The piece finds that the position would be a blow to Congressman Daniel Reed, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, who wanted to provide an immediate 10 percent tax reduction to offset the 11 percent tax increase passed to finance the Korean War. But Senator Byrd believed it more important to balance the budget and thus reduce inflationary pressure. He believed in strong defense and that any material reduction in defense spending was unlikely of achievement during the ensuing few months, that a large part of foreign aid spending was already allocated for the next fiscal year, most of it earmarked for military supplies. The new Administration already faced a budget deficit of 9.9 billion dollars and cutting taxes would only add to it.

While there was a great deal of waste in the Federal budget, 85 percent of it was going to pay for past, present and future wars and it would be no easy task therefore to reduce it significantly without curtailing defense spending. It suggests that the Senate, by tradition, was "the repository of greatness" for the nation and, in the case of the budget and taxes, would have to be the repository of common sense also.

"A Step Toward Home Rule" indicates that the County Commissioners had assented to a resolution proposed by one of the commissioners to include Mecklenburg County in the statewide measure introduced by a member of the State House from Robeson County to permit county commissioners to fix the salaries of elected county officials. Previously, Mecklenburg was to be excluded from that measure.

Many boards of county commissioners in the state already possessed that authority and the system had worked well, making more sense than having the General Assembly raise or lower salaries of such local officials. It indicates that the bill was just the beginning of establishing home rule in the state.

"How about Those Council Jobs?" tells of L. R. Sides, well-known and well liked in the community for some time, having announced during the week that he would run for the mayoralty of Charlotte, and it welcomes him to the race with Philip Van Every.

But competition for the several positions on the City Council had not yet been so spirited. Four members would run again and several other candidates had announced, but the field was not yet crowded and remained wide open for a lively campaign. It hopes that others would enter that race, so that the voters would have a wide choice of candidates from whom to choose for such important positions to the community.

"Clouds Have Dark Linings, Too" indicates that the first two of a special series of articles by the Alsops in the newspaper the previous day and this date had spelled out a grim story for Americans, that instead of cutting defense spending, as General Eisenhower had expressed the hope to do during the campaign, it would now perhaps be necessary for the President to increase defense spending by between 16 and 20 billion dollars to enable in the ensuing two years the country's air defenses to catch up with those of Russia and protect the country from its presently vulnerable position regarding a potential Russian atomic attack by air.

It indicates that it was too early to draw final conclusions, but that the Alsops previously had dug deeply into matters which uncovered trends before those trends became headlines, and that their prediction was quite plausible. Whereas the U.S. had chosen guns and butter, the Soviet economy had been geared to full war production since the end of the war, building tanks and planes at a rapid rate, with the possibility that they had also accumulated a large number of atomic bombs. The change in leadership in Russia held out the promise of unrest and rivalry, but U.S. national security could not be based on the hope for peace to emerge from that circumstance. Thus, the revelations presented by the Alsops had to be evaluated coldly and realistically through the lens they provided.

"Young Attorney with a Book" tells of an attorney from Tacoma, Washington, Donald Eastvold, who had warned the supporters of Senator Taft at the previous summer's Republican Convention to "beware of the young attorney with a book", proceeding then to quote a Supreme Court ruling which had bearing on the case of the dispute between the Taft and Eisenhower supporters regarding seating of the rival Georgia delegations. Largely in response to that speech, the Eisenhower supporters had won the struggle.

As recompense, the prior November, Mr. Eastvold was elected State Attorney General and then the President appointed him as an assistant to Mrs. Oswald B. Lord of New York, who succeeded Eleanor Roosevelt as the U.S. delegate to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

It indicates that it had expected big things from Mr. Eastvold after his performance the prior July, and saw no reason to change that opinion in the meantime.

Drew Pearson indicates that the most significant part of British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden's visit to Washington was his attempt to tone down what the British regarded as a dangerous policy on the part of the U.S. in the Far East. He was convinced that the new Administration's advisers were intent on doing something in that region just for the sake of doing it, placing election campaign promises ahead of international safety, and that if Russia were pushed too hard, especially after the death of Stalin, a war could be provoked. A few more incidents such as the shooting down of the U.S. and British planes over Germany the previous week, on the claims of the Soviets that the planes had intruded on Communist-controlled airspace, could cause the West either to lose face with their allies or arouse popular demand for retaliatory action, either of which would be dangerous.

Many in the State Department who were career policy advisers agreed with the view of Mr. Eden, that the recent incidents were deliberate warnings by the Russians that two could play at the game of getting tough and that if the West were going to get tough in the Far East, Russia could get tougher in Europe, with the potential of war resulting.

He next provides a sampling of mail to the IRB from unhappy taxpayers on the filing date of March 15.

Senator Price Daniel of Texas had approached former Secretary of the Interior Oscar Chapman recently, following the latter's testimony anent the tidelands oil issue, Senator Daniel telling him that he had never agreed with his position but that he had made a tough case against returning to the states the right to the tidelands oil, and that he had been the most effective witness on the issue. Mr. Chapman had reminded Republicans that Federal control of public lands had been initiated by a Republican President, Teddy Roosevelt, and not by the Democrats. He gently chided Senator Hugh Butler of Nebraska for proposing to turn over all public lands to the states, warning that if Middle Eastern oil were cut off, the U.S. Navy would desperately need the oil in those lands. He also reminded the oil companies that if the pending bills to return the lands to the states were passed, the oil companies would not be able to drill for about 10 years because the issue of the rights would be tied up in litigation for that long. He also said that the new Administration had shifted its position three times on tidelands oil, that Secretary of the Interior Douglas McKay had advocated giving three states, Louisiana, Texas and California, everything, while the State Department had effectively stated that the states could not have anything beyond their historical boundaries, which would be three miles for most states, but 10.3 miles for Texas, that Attorney General Herbert Brownell had advocated provision of the three states with the oil under the sea but not providing them title to the areas.

Mr. Pearson notes that Senator Daniel had gone to the White House and conferred with the President, after which the President effectively reversed Mr. Brownell's position, and announced that he was for giving the states both the oil and the title.

The Cleveland Times, in an editorial, regards freedom of religious belief under the Constitution and the attack on it by Congressman Harold Velde, chairman of HUAC, the latter having stated recently that the Committee might investigate the clergy. Three prominent clergymen had spoken out in recent weeks against "the pretended patriots" who had proved themselves "morally unfit" to investigate the nation's educational system for disloyalty and subversives, and were operating on the assumption that they were "the divinely constituted guardians of other men's consciences, other men's patriotism or thoughts". The three clergymen had gone on to say that these investigators were seeking political advantage in a time of hysteria "by capitalizing upon fear and, in the name of Americanism, by attacking our institutions, discrediting our leaders and dividing our people."

The piece indicates that Senators McCarthy and William Jenner, along with Congressman Velde, were "vicious men", "panic patriots", who professed a prior claim on patriotism and were reaching for a similar claim on righteousness. "They have grabbed for our minds and they will grab for our prayers. There is no end, if we long tolerate these authoritarian investigators, to invade the guaranteed and inviolate privacy of our opinions, our books, our pictures, our dramas, our songs, our jokes, our lectures, our sermons. Once we are captive in our own minds, it will be no task to enslave our bodies."

It advocates letting those who worshiped fear, hate, malice, greed, and ambition, to worship as they would, but, for the sake of freedom to worship, "let us strike them down before they sacrifice that freedom to their own respective demons."

Robert C. Ruark, in Nairobi, Kenya, tells of Bonzo the dog, part bull terrier "and the rest conjecturable", which held sway at Nairobi's Norfolk Hotel at the behest of its owner, the owner of the hotel, and to the exclusion of all other dogs. Bonzo was off-white, with one bleary red eye, and bit people routinely, if only halfheartedly, snarled and growled. But when Bonzo looked at the hotel owner, one could see in his red eye that which "might pass over the face of a college sophomore who had just been kissed by Marilyn Monroe." Bonzo, however, behaved with an arrogant air toward everyone else.

Mr. Ruark thinks that short story writer O. Henry might have been able to do something wonderful with Bonzo as a moral lesson, but he could only fumble at the effort, as the moral seemed to appear in the fact that a bum dog which believed himself king was no longer a bum, and that a good panhandler could achieve more of the world's goods than a man of high purpose. The hotel owner had mellowed quite a lot since Bonzo had adopted him and taken over running the hotel, and the service had improved vastly.

A letter from Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee indicates that he was pleased to learn that the newspaper had received the American Heritage Foundation award for its campaign to get out the vote in Mecklenburg County the prior fall, and indicates that it was well merited and had been a fine service to the community, that he was "right proud" of the newspaper and its editors.

A letter from a representative of the National Federation of Federal Employees in Washington comments on a reprinted editorial from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Crackdown on U.S. Drones", finding it a "gratuitous smear of hundreds of thousands of conscientious American citizens serving their country in the Federal Civil Service." He indicates that the editorial had concluded without evidence that two-thirds of all Federal employees had been cheating the Federal Government of an hour or two of working time each day, while the other third were providing value received. He finds it the type of "editorial irresponsibility" making it increasingly difficult to obtain qualified people to work in Federal service. He says that no such accusation had been made or implied by Attorney General Brownell or anyone else in a position of authority or responsibility in the new Administration, for the reason that there was no basis for it.

A letter from Harry Golden of the Carolina Israelite responds to a letter responding to his prior letter regarding the McCarran Immigration Act. He indicates that the writer appeared to suggest that church opposition to the Act was unworthy of attention, when more than 85 percent of all Protestant church organizations had expressed their opposition, and that the attempt to link opposition to leftists had been answered by the President in his State of the Union message when he said that the legislation contained injustices and was discriminatory, and should be reviewed by Congress with a view toward freedom and fairness to all. He concludes that no one who opposed the McCarran Act sought any more than that which the President had recommended.

A letter writer responds to the same letter which had responded to Mr. Golden, saying that he believed the McCarran Act violated everything which the founding fathers proclaimed in the Constitution, that he was particularly disturbed by her reference to the "great melting pots" boiling over and her assumption that present-day Communists were products of foreign settlements in big cities. He indicates that it took minds of foreign origin, Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi, to develop the atomic bomb, and now they were Americans. He indicates that if a new war began, he would have to fight it, not the prior female letter writer, and that he would gladly give his life so that she could enjoy freedom of speech and also so that those of foreign origins could continue to make the country the greatest country on earth.


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